By Charlotte Jacovou
LONDON DESIGN FESTIVAL: V&A
The London Design Festival, hosted at the world’s greatest design museum
The London Design Festival returns to the V&A for the third consecutive year. As well as hosting a series of exhibitions, talks and workshops, the V&A hosts 13 specially commissioned installation and includes some of 2011’s most important landmark projects.
A standout installation of the programme will be the transformation of the Museum’s Grand Entrance by award-winning architects Amanda Levete Architects (winner of the V&A’s recent international competition to design a new courtyard and underground extension). A majestic three-dimensional latticework spiral made from red oak will span the height of the Museum doors (see main image). Opening up long views along Cromwell Road, the installation takes the V&A out onto the street, and exuberantly celebrates the London Design Festival’s residency at the V&A. Timber Wave - supported by The American Hardwood Export Council with lighting designed by SEAM Design - builds on a collection of installations that demonstrate the enduring qualities of American hardwood.
Inside the V&A, France’s most accomplished design duo, the Bouroullec Brothers, will createTextile Field - an expansive, coloured foam and textile installation with gentle inclinations that produce a sensual environment on which visitors can comfortably lounge and immerse themselves in the stunning Raphael Gallery (see image left). The 30-metre long installation is supported byKvadrat - continuing a tradition established by the Danish materials manufacturer to continuously push the aesthetic, technological and artistic boundaries of textiles.
Renowned New York-based design gallerist and curator Murray Moss will collaborate with industry leader Materialise, Belgium to create this special exhibition which pushes the parameters of 21st century 3D ‘printing’. A series of unique ‘printed’ works, using cutting edge laser and digital technologies to build three-dimensional objects, are placed throughout the Museum’s most important galleries, wittily referencing eight of the Museum’s key pieces and spaces. Among these ‘printed’ works, The Fractal.MGX table, recently acquired by the V&A for its permanent collection, is based on growth patterns seen in nature, which can be described with mathematical algorithms. This object is impossible to produce in any other manufacturing technique, and reinforces the growing bond between nature and mathematical formulas. Renowned milliner Stephen Jones has re-imagined, using computer scanning technology, a special reproduction of the Museum’s renowned 1827 bust of Lady Belhaven, adding, of course, a contemporary hat (Dorothy and Michael Hintze Sculpture Galleries).
Alongside the specially commissioned activity at the Museum, the V&A’s exhibition programme will complement the Festival period. Launching during the Festival, on 24 September,Postmodernism Style and Subversion 1970-1990 will be the first comprehensive study of the period of design freedom that changed our understanding of style. It will survey, in-depth, the art, design and architecture of the 1970s and 1980s that defined it. The Festival will reflect this major exhibition which is supported by Friends of the V&A with further support from Barclay’s Wealth with a temporary Post-Modern Café at the Exhibition Road entrance.
From 6 September, Power of Making, a V&A and Crafts Council exhibition, will explore the universal nature of making by displaying the widest possible range of creativity with over 100 exquisitely made objects. The exhibition will provide a snapshot of making in our time with work on display including a ceramic eye patch, a fine metal flute, a life-sized crochet bear, handcrafted puppets, dry stone walling, a bamboo car, lion-shaped coffin, six-necked guitar, bio-implant embroidering to aid surgical implants, cake decorations and new technologies such as 3D printing.
The London Design Festival at the V&A programme will also include a site-specific installation in the Tunnel entrance, designed by Berlin-based, Israeli design outfit Betatank; a curated show of the best graduate talent from across the University of Arts London and a digital world brought to life by Beyond the Valley. There will also be a showcase of new acquisitions for the Museum with the money raised through the new Outset Design Fund to benefit the V&A, supported by the London Design Festival.
The V&A has also invited another five cultural figures to contribute to the V&A and Me Designer Maps series launched at last year’s Festival. Aimed to provide an inspirational and insightful tour across the collections, visitors will be led by choices from Tom Dixon, Lulu Guinness, Annie Lennox and A.S. Byatt.
There will also be a series of events at the Museum as part of the London Design Festival at the V&A. There will be a digital design hub at the Sackler Centre alongside a host of workshops, breakfast talks and seminars as well as housing a press and information centre for the Festival as a whole.
A series of design-performance events supported by Google will give insights into the cutting edge of design, innovation and technology. UK Trade and Investment will host a series of market-briefing sessions, providing UK design businesses with opportunities to engage with the vast array of international visitors and interests at the London Design Festival.